Maxwell, Samuel Chapman, Col

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1968-1968, 7th Air Force
Service Years
1945 - 1968

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Skip Kimbrow to remember Maxwell, Samuel Chapman, Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Sep 12, 1968
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Lincoln Memorial Park - Lincoln, Nebraska
Wall/Plot Coordinates
44W 038

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 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1968, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Senior)

 Unit Assignments
357th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Dragons355th Tactical Fighter Wing7th Air Force
  1968-1968, 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Dragons
  1968-1968, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1968-1968, 7th Air Force
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  
  1967-1968, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Remains Returned 21 June 1989; Identified 25 October 1989

On 12 September 1968, then Major Samuel C. "Sam" Maxwell was the pilot of the lead aircraft (#59-1762), call sign "Wolf 03," in a flight of 4 that was conducting a late afternoon/early evening strike mission in that region of North Vietnam identified as "Tally Ho" the southernmost region of North Vietnam bordered on the south by the DMZ, on the north by an imaginary line 30 miles north of the DMZ, on the east by the coastline and on the west by Laotian border. After arriving in the target area, then Captain Maxwell checked in with the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) that was controlling all air operations in the region. The ABCCC provided Wolf flight with current weather and mission data before handing the flight over to the Forward Air Controller (FAC) who would direct their strike mission.

At 1731 hours, Wolf flight was directed to attack a line of small boats sailing on the Song Ron River 15 miles south of Mui Ron Ma. Major Maxwell initiated his strafing run on the boats and was seen firing at the target when his aircraft was hit by intense and accurate ground fire. Other flight members also saw the Thunderchief hit the ground and explode on impact. However, in the chaos of battle and the impending darkness, the other pilots did not see if he had been able to eject from his crippled aircraft. The Thunderchief crashed into jungle foothills 2 miles east of the Song Ron River, 8 miles west of the coastline, 15 miles south of Mui Ron Ma and 31 miles northwest of the major port city of Dong Hoi.

A visual and electronic search and rescue (SAR) mission was immediately launched, but found no trace of the downed pilot. At the time the search effort was terminated, Sam Maxwell was declared Missing in Action.

In 1992, a National Security Agency (NSA) correlation study of all communist radio intercepts pertaining to missing Americans, which was presented to the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs in a classified format, was finally declassified and made public. According to this document, 3 North Vietnamese radio messages were intercepted and correlated to this incident.

On 31 July 1989, the Vietnamese returned remains that reported to be Major Maxwell's without explanation. They were transported to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) for examination. On 25 October 1989 they were positively identified as Sam Maxwell. Shortly thereafter they were returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
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